Keppel FELS Expands into Kazakhstan

Keppel Offshore & Marine Ltd is setting up an offshore engineering and construction facility in Kazakhstan in a move to service the emerging offshore oil and gas industry.

Mr. Choo Chiau Beng, Chairman and CEO of Keppel O&M, said, "The establishment of Keppel Kazakhstan LLP is in line with our near market near customer strategy so that we can better serve our customers prospecting and drilling in the Kazakh Sector of the Caspian Sea. "It will complement another Keppel joint venture shipyard, Caspian Shipyard Company in Baku, Azerbaijan, to strengthen Keppel O&M's presence in the Caspian Sea."

Keppel Kazakhstan LLP is incorporated in Aktau and was officially inaugurated there by His Excellency Mr. Nursultan A Nazarbayev, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, earlier this week.

The site selected for establishing this offshore engineering and construction facility is located adjacent to the Aktau Sea Port facing the Caspian Sea and is within the Free Economic Zone of Aktau.

The principal activities of Keppel Kazakhstan LLP will be in the design, construction, conversion and repair of offshore drilling units and structures and specialized vessels such as tugs and supply boats as well as in the provision of offshore supply and logistics base.

Development of the facility will be done in two phases and in tandem with demands for various offshore structures, equipment, infrastructure and services. Total investment for Phase I to develop the facility to undertake major projects is envisaged to be in the region of US$20 million.

The second largest oil producer among the former Soviet republics after Russia, Kazakhstan has huge oil and gas reserves onshore and offshore. A recent offshore discovery, the Kashagan Field in northern Caspian Sea, for instance, is conservatively estimated to contain a reserve of up to 38 billion barrels of oil according to Oil and Gas International in its January 2002 report. Partners in AgipKCO, the consortium for developing the Kashagan Field, are Agip, ExxonMobil, TotalFinaElf, Philip Petroleum, British Gas, Shell and Inpex. AgipKCO has projected a spending of between US$6 billion and US$8 billion to develop the field for First Oil by 2005.

The Kazakhstan government has just announced on April 1, 2003 plans to develop its offshore oil and gas fields in the Caspian Sea with the aim of producing up to 50 million tons of oil per year by 2015. This program includes the development of overall infrastructure to support the rapid increase of offshore operations.